The Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) is a family of "standards specified by the "IEEE Computer Society for maintaining compatibility between "operating systems. POSIX defines the "application programming interface (API), along with command line "shells and utility interfaces, for software compatibility with variants of "Unix and other operating systems.
Originally, the name "POSIX" referred to IEEE Std 1003.1-1988, released in 1988. The family of POSIX standards is formally designated as IEEE 1003 and the international standard name is "ISO/"IEC 9945.
The standards emerged from a project that began circa 1985. "Richard Stallman suggested the name POSIX to the IEEE instead of former IEEE-IX. The committee found it more easily pronounceable and memorable, and thus adopted it.
Unix was selected as the basis for a standard system interface partly because it was "manufacturer-neutral". However, several major versions of Unix existed—so there was a need to develop a common denominator system. The POSIX specifications for "Unix-like operating systems originally consisted of a single document for the core programming interface, but eventually grew to 19 separate documents (POSIX.1, POSIX.2, etc.). The standardized user "command line and "scripting interface were based on the "UNIX System V shell. Many user-level programs, services, and utilities (including "awk, "echo, "ed) were also standardized, along with required program-level services (including basic "I/O: "file, "terminal, and "network). POSIX also defines a standard "threading library API which is supported by most modern operating systems. In 2008, most parts of POSIX were combined into a single standard (IEEE Std 1003.1-2008, also known as POSIX.1-2008).
As of 2014
, POSIX documentation is divided in two parts:
- POSIX.1, 2013 Edition: POSIX Base Definitions, System Interfaces, and Commands and Utilities (which include POSIX.1, extensions for POSIX.1, Real-time Services, Threads Interface, Real-time Extensions, Security Interface, Network File Access and Network Process-to-Process Communications, User Portability Extensions, Corrections and Extensions, Protection and Control Utilities and Batch System Utilities. This is POSIX 1003.1-2008 with Technical Corrigendum 1.)
- POSIX Conformance Testing: A test suite for POSIX accompanies the standard: VSX-PCTS or the VSX POSIX Conformance Test Suite.
The development of the POSIX standard takes place in the "Austin Group (a joint "working group linking the IEEE, The Open Group and the ISO/IEC JTC 1 organizations).
Parts before 1997
Before 1997, POSIX comprised several standards:
- POSIX.1: Core Services (incorporates Standard "ANSI C) (IEEE Std 1003.1-1988)
- POSIX.1b: Real-time extensions (IEEE Std 1003.1b-1993, later appearing as librt—the Realtime Extensions library))
- POSIX.1c: "Threads extensions (IEEE Std 1003.1c-1995)
- Thread Creation, Control, and Cleanup
- Thread Scheduling
- Thread Synchronization
- Signal Handling
- POSIX.2: Shell and Utilities (IEEE Std 1003.2-1992)
Versions after 1997
After 1997, the "Austin Group developed the POSIX revisions. The specifications are known under the name "Single UNIX Specification, before they become a POSIX standard when formally approved by the ISO.
POSIX.1-2001 (or IEEE Std 1003.1-2001) equates to the Single UNIX Specification version 3.
This standard consisted of:
- the Base Definitions, Issue 6,
- the System Interfaces and Headers, Issue 6,
- the Commands and Utilities, Issue 6.
POSIX.1-2004 (with two TCs)
IEEE Std 1003.1-2004 involved a minor update of POSIX.1-2001. It incorporated two minor updates or "errata referred to as Technical Corrigenda. Its contents are available on the web.
POSIX.1-2008 (with two TCs)
As of 2017Base Specifications, Issue 7 (or IEEE Std 1003.1-2008, 2016 Edition) represents the current version. A free online copy is available.
This standard consists of:
- the Base Definitions, Issue 7,
- the System Interfaces and Headers, Issue 7,
- the Commands and Utilities, Issue 7,
- the Rationale volume.
512- vs 1024-byte blocks
POSIX mandates 512-byte default block sizes for the "df and "du utilities, reflecting the typical size of blocks on disks. When "Richard Stallman and the "GNU team were implementing POSIX for the "GNU operating system, they objected to this on the grounds that most people think in terms of 1024 byte (or 1 "KiB) blocks. The environment variable POSIXLY_CORRECT was introduced to allow the user to force the standards-compliant behaviour. This variable is now also used for a number of other behaviour quirks, where "POSIX and common sense disagree".
POSIX-oriented operating systems
Depending upon the degree of compliance with the standards, one can classify operating systems as fully or partly POSIX compatible. Certified products can be found at the IEEE's website.
Some versions of the following operating systems have been certified to conform to one or more of the various POSIX standards. This means that they passed the automated conformance tests.
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The following, while not officially certified as POSIX compatible, comply in large part:
POSIX for Microsoft Windows
- "Cygwin provides a largely POSIX-compliant development and run-time environment for "Microsoft Windows.
- "MinGW, a "fork of Cygwin, provides a less POSIX-compliant development environment and supports compatible "C-programmed applications via "Msvcrt, Microsoft's old Visual C runtime library.
- "Microsoft POSIX subsystem, an optional Windows subsystem included in Windows NT-based operating systems up to Windows 2000. POSIX-1 as it stood in 1990 revision, without threads or sockets.
- "Interix, originally OpenNT by Softway Systems, Inc., is an upgrade and replacement for "Microsoft POSIX subsystem that was purchased by "Microsoft in 1999. It was initially marketed as a stand-alone add-on product and then later included it as a component in "Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) and finally incorporated it as a component in "Windows Server 2003 R2 and later Windows OS releases under the name "Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications" (SUA); later made deprecated in 2012 (Windows 8) and dropped in 2013 (2012 R2, 8.1). It enables full POSIX compliance for certain "Microsoft Windows products.
- "Windows Subsystem for Linux is a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows 10 using an Ubuntu image, acting as an upgrade and replacement for Windows Services for UNIX. It was released in beta in April 2016.
- "UWIN from AT&T Research implements a POSIX layer on top of the Win32 APIs.
- "MKS Toolkit, originally created for MS-DOS, is a software package produced and maintained by "MKS Inc. that provides a "Unix-like environment for scripting, connectivity and porting "Unix and "Linux software to both 32- and 64-bit "Microsoft Windows systems. A subset of it was included in the first release of "Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) in 1998.
- "Windows C Runtime Library and "Windows Sockets API implement commonly used POSIX API functions for file, time, environment, and socket access, although the support remains largely incomplete and not fully interoperable with POSIX-compliant implementations.
POSIX for OS/2
Mostly POSIX compliant environments for "OS/2:
POSIX for DOS
Partially POSIX compliant environments for "DOS include:
- "emx+gcc – largely POSIX compliant
- "DJGPP – partially POSIX compliant
- "DR-DOS multitasking core via "EMM386 /MULTI – a POSIX threads frontend API extension is available
Compliant via compatibility feature
The following are not officially certified as POSIX compatible, but they conform in large part to the standards by implementing POSIX support via some sort of compatibility feature (usually translation libraries, or a layer atop the kernel). Without these features, they are usually noncompliant.
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